At low temperatures, physical systems eventually condense into their quantum mechanical ground state, and may exhibit extraordinary properties. Known examples are, for example, the superconducting state of metals, in which the electric current flows losslessly, and the superfluid state of helium, in which the flow is lossless. Both are examples of macroscopic quantum-mechanical phenomena that occur at low temperatures.
The Centre of Excellence in Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices investigated quantum phenomena, both in extremely ideal continuous media, such as helium liquids and crystals, and in metallic nanostructures. The goal was to produce quantum-electronic components with sensors based on superconducting structures as the important circuit elements. A successful example is the superconducting sensors used to measure brain activity.
The CoE comprised six research groups, five from the HUT Low Temperature Laboratory and one from VTT Finland's Information Technology Research Unit. The research groups included some 25 doctoral-level researchers. The CoE was a Centre of Excellence in Research nominated by the Academy of Finland also during the 2000–2005 period.
The Coe was headed by Professor Mikko Paalanen.